Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins
Photo courtesy of David Shankbone

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. In it, Suzanne Collins pushes the boundaries of young adult fiction. Like other YA novels before it, such as The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier or Lord of the Flies by William Golding, it explores themes of violence among child and young adult characters. Some parents might be opposed to these themes in their kids' literature. I'm not.
  
Spoilers ahead.

Mockingjay reintroduces us to the protagonist of the series–Katniss Everdeen. Rebels have rescued her and taken her to their underground bunker. They did not rescue her friend Peeta. This makes Katniss resentful of the rebels with whom she is now working. Katniss has been mistrusting and angry throughout the series, but she is now distrustful of the rebels too.

Rebel leaders want Everdeen to be the symbol of their rebellion–a propaganda tool that inspires fighters. Their methods are similar to those used by the enemy, which sheds light on the story's true moral conundrum. When both sides are killing for what they want, how can you tell which side is the right side? If you cannot gain freedom from murderous leaders without violence, how do you stop the violence once you have won? This is not a new concept in literature.

The plot of Mockingjay is not surprising. The first two books set it up, but that doesn't make it less entertaining. They way the characters come to the realization that they may be trading one dictator for another, and the way they deal with it, keeps the plot moving. The morals are deeper, and the protagonists more colorful than those in most current YA fiction. I think Collins put herself near the top of the genre with this series. Let's hope she has more books to offer.

Shelly Barclay

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